When I was given this assignment I had a quick thought come to mind of a scripture that I used to think with was a little bit weird in the Book of Mormon. And the more I think about it now, especially with this assignment, It has a lot more meaning to it. And if you go to 1 Nephi 2:15 it will have more of a meaning when you know more of the story behind it. It says: and my father dwelt in a tent. That sounded pretty simple and straightforward. Nephi's speaking to his father Lehi after they left the city of Jerusalem.
Today I was asked to speak a little bit about tents. We can think of ourselves as dwelling in the tent, back in the day, when Abraham was traveling around the universe. He traveled quite a bit. He dwelt in a tent and tents were pretty important back then. One thing I learned recently is that in that society and even today, in some societies, if you were invited into that tent you were under the protection of whoever was in that tent until you left that tent. It's their responsibility to take care of you, feed, you and handle all your needs. And then when you leave you're open game but I mean while your in there you're safe. Anyway, recently we've been studying about Abraham in Come Follow Me and also about his nephew Lot. There's a good story about Lot with regard to tents and that is that Lot is really blessed because he was taken under the wing of Abraham. He was very blessed by the Lord because he sought out the Lord early in his life and made promises to the Lord. The Lord made promises to him and Abraham kept his side of the word as always. And, of course, we know that if the Lord makes a promise to us, he will never ever not fulfill it. Anyway, back to Lot for a little bit. He stayed with Abraham for quite a long time and then they reached a point where because of their success in gaining common knowledge, gaining riches, flocks and herds and money that things were going really well for Abraham and Lot. They got to a point in one of their journeyings that they settled in the Jordan River Valley. So on one side of the Jordan River, it was really green and lush and looked like a really nice place to live. On the other side it was kind of a desert. And they arrived there and then there herdsmen from both parties started having strife. And so they decided, Abraham decided, you know, rather than have strife let's split up. So he brought Lot before him and said, "you can have whichever side of this valley you want. So, Lot looked along that land with the green and grass the whole good deal, I'll take that one and Abraham took the other one. Well, Lot decided to go do that. I want to read something from chapter 13 and that shows what Lot kind of ending up doing that may have been to his detriment. Verse 1 in Abraham. Abram went up out from Egypt, he and his wife and all he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock in silver and in gold. He went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been in the beginning, between the Bethel and Ai. To the place of the altar which he had made. That's interesting. Abraham wherever he went when he stopped, one of the first things he did is he built an altar and offered sacrifices to the Lord under the altar, which he had made there at the first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord and Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not do well together. And there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and the herdsman of Lot's cattle. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwell in the land. And Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsman and your herdsmen, for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right, or if you go to the right, then I will go to the left." And lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plane of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plane of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom. When we know that Sodom was a really wicked place. And people there did not seek the commandments of the Lord, but here is Lot pitching his tent. He could have put the opening and the tent anywhere but he put it right toward Sodom. And then we learn later that pretty soon Lot was living in Sodom or close to it. And so at one point, The Lord sent Angel's. I don't know if you remember the story but Abraham actually bargained with the Lord that if there was anybody up to It started out with 50 and if there were even down to 10 people who were righteous in the city of Sodom and Gommora then he would not destroy it. but he had chosen to destroy the city. Then here is Lot right in the middle of everything. And he needs to leave. He's saying Angels that met with Abraham went down and met with Lot and they actually almost physically had to take him out of there by the hand to get him out of that city before it was destroyed. Its sort of like the story told by the two young folks earlier about Noah. They kept telling them, you know, repent, get better or the floods going to come. Well, this one was is maybe even a little more severe. We're going to burn the place down. If you don't leave, so they had to leave. Anyway, that's a good example of where not place your tent. If you look at everything everywhere Abraham went he placed his tent toward the alter he built. And if you know a little bit about symbolism the altar really represented the temple so we can bring that to our day and utilize it to give us an example of what we should do with regard to the temple. I want to read a couple other scriptures that show the importance of where to place your tent. So in the book of Mormon, in Mosiah, chapter 2, the story is about King. Benjamin. King Benjamin had his son Mosiah send a proclamation out to all the people for them to gather at the temple, so that he could instruct them. And verse 1. He says, and it came to pass that after Mosiah had done as his father had commanded him, and had made a proclamation throughout all the land, that the people gathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the temple and hear the words which King Benjamin should speak unto them. Then verse 6 in that same chapter and they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which King Benjamin should speak into them; So they placed their tents in the right place. And then in third Nephi, chapter 11 This is right after all the destruction had ceased the darkness and lifted off the earth. And now these folks are gathered. They don't know what's going to happen but they're gathered together. There's a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another the great marvelous change which had taken place. and then right after that the Savior appeared to them, sent out of heaven. And spent the next 20 some chapters instructing the people in his gospel. But the interesting thing to me is that they were gathered at the temple. How important is that especially in our day. Now I'm out of time But I wanted to bring this to your attention, President Nelson in October conference 2018 giving the opening address in which he spoke about a new program that the church needed to adopt said we've been used to having a church-centered instruction. We need to change that. We need to change it to a home centered instruction or church with a building or church supported. That's when this happened back in October 2018, and we've been blessed extremely with the Come Follow Me program. I love it to death because of what a difference it has made in my life. And then, on top of that, here comes to pandemic. The 2019 coronavirus attacks. And now not only do we need a home-centered church but we're kind of forced into a home centered church and what a blessing that has been to us. So, our profit today is Just as viable as Abraham and the prophets of old. I have a testimony that if you place your tent, which would mean your home in the right place and face it toward going to the temple whenever you can, like Nelson said, if we have an issue, with going to the temple Go more often. And I believe that 100% and I leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.